Experimental phase of AcrOSS at Grottaglie Airport
At the start at the Airport of Grottaglie in Puglia, the test phase of the AcrOSS project aimed at developing technologies – on the ground and on board – that make the flight operations of drones at low altitude safe and efficient. Co-financed by MIUR and subsidized by the European Structural Funds 2014/2020, the project sees the coordination in this test phase of Aeroporti di Puglia and the participation of the leader IDS Ingegneria Dei Sistemi SpA, Exprivia, TopView – UAS Engineering, the University of Salento and the University of Bologna. The project pays particular attention to the airspace surrounding airports and sensitive areas in general, for which permission to access is required.
“We are particularly satisfied with the outcome of these intense days of work carried out as part of the AcrOSS project which saw the participation, with the coordination in the test phase of Aeroporti di Puglia, of industrial and academic partners of absolute value” says Antonio Maria Vasile, Vice President of Aeroporti di Puglia. “A project of great scientific and technological value destined to favor more and more, through the definition of maximum safety procedures, the integration of commercial air traffic with unmanned aircraft. Once again, therefore, Grottaglie is confirmed as a strategic infrastructure and a pole of international excellence for the growth of the industrial and academic system at the service of the aeronautical and aerospace sector, in line with the guidelines outlined in the Strategic Plan of Aeroporti di Puglia”
In this important challenge IDS, a company of the Fincantieri Nextech group and leader of the project, is in charge of developing a radar system for the detection of drones, together with the development of a system for the localization of cooperating aircraft, equipped with UTM-BOX, and the implementation of a “Command & Control” capable of integrating multi-technology sensors aimed at discovering and controlling the position of unmanned (unmanned aircraft) in real-time inside the airport.
The IDS technology, in addition to being able to count on the great experience gained by the Company in the field of Electromagnetism and remotely piloted systems, involves the use of Machine Learning techniques and algorithms for the classification of radar targets.
The ICT group Exprivia has made available software that collects data in real time to assess the risks of the malfunction of drones during flight. Specifically, the Exprivia team has created a ground system that regularly acquires data streams, a heterogeneous data stream to support flight simulation activities and perform recording and playback functions for the reproduction, analysis and investigation of real and reproduced scenarios. The activity uses a 3D geographic system that examines the mission of the flight, correlating events and associated risk factors.
The project sees the collaboration of the University of Salento, which has tested the integrated operation of some of the technological components of the AcrOSS platform: the web portal for the management and monitoring of flight activities, from the moment of booking the area until the conclusion of the operations to be made available to pilots and operators employed in air traffic monitoring, and an Augmented Reality (AR) system to support the pilot in compliance with flight constraints and in the management of any emergencies.
Another partner of the project, in addition to the University of Bologna, is TopView which as a UAS operator is responsible for field flight activities and has developed a dedicated Ground Control Station application. The application communicates the position of the drone to the platform in real time, sends alert messages to the pilot and can take control of it to make emergency landings at designated points. The capabilities and technological solutions envisaged for the AcrOSS project are designed to pave the way for greater access to airspace and minimise the risks associated with operations.